Saturday, March 28, 2015
1012 C Street  •  Floresville, TX 78114  •  Phone: 830-216-4519  •  Fax: 830-393-3219  • 

WCN Site Search


Lost & Found


VideoFound: Black female dog with white spot on chest, in Poth, very friendly but has no collar. Call 830-484-2024
Found: Small black/white possible Boston Bulldog, very gentle, Stuart Road area, needs forever home if owner not found. Call 210-635-7185.
Found: Young male Dachshund, very friendly, loves kids, ignores cats. Call to identify, 830-393-6614 or 830-534-6413.
More Lost & Found ads ›

Help Wanted

Trainee for service and installation technician for automatic doors, valid and clean Texas Driver license required, some electrical and power tool experience preferred, but not mandatory. 830-216-4358.
The Floresville Independent School District is accepting applications for Grounds Maintenance Worker. Terms of employment: 260 days, 5 days per week, 8-hour workday per year; hours may be modified based on changes in mission requirements. Primary purpose: To help maintain the physical school plant in a condition of operating excellence so that full educational use of it may be made at all times. Education/Certification: License requirements, Texas Motor Vehicle Operators License, Structural Pest Control Board Technician Pesticide License. Special Knowledge/Skills: 1. Good knowledge of the operation, trouble shooting, repair and maintenance of ground maintenance equipment. 2. Must demonstrate good mathematical calculation skills and reading comprehension skills. 3. Good knowledge of safety precautions to avoid injury to himself and other. Experience: Prior lawn care experience or grounds maintenance experience in an educational institution or environment. Interested applicants will need to apply online at www.FISD.us.
More Help Wanted ads ›

Featured Videos





Video Vault ›

Commentaries


Brokering A Better Healthcare System




E-Mail this Story to a Friend
Print this Story

Disclaimer:
The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
July 26, 2012 | 1,411 views | 1 comment

By Janet Trautwein

The Supreme Court just affirmed that President Obama's health reform law is indeed constitutional. Supporters of the measure have rejoiced that America may finally be on its way toward achieving universal health coverage.

Unfortunately, the newly upheld law undermines one of the chief means of expanding access to affordable coverage, particularly among small businesses -- by threatening to put thousands of insurance agents out of work.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurance companies to devote no more than 20 percent of premium dollars to administration and profit. This "minimum medical loss ratio" may seem like a reasonable way to ensure patients get their money's worth.

But it puts the jobs of insurance agents at risk -- to their detriment and that of their customers.

Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services ruled that insurers had to count commissions paid to agents as administrative costs.

Insurers responded by slashing commissions. The Government Accountability Office found that commissions for many agents were cut by 50 percent.

Consequently, some agents are leaving the business or downsizing, laying off employees just to keep their doors open. Already, one in five has done so. And that number will likely grow.

Ironically, just when many consumers would benefit from brokers' expert counsel on the healthcare law and its benefits, that same law is winnowing their ranks.

Treating agents as mere overhead is a mistake. Just ask anyone who's had to buy insurance on their own. Or ask the 75 percent of small businesses who rely on brokers -- including many who use them as de facto human resources departments.

Independent agents do more than just sell insurance policies. They help consumers navigate a rapidly changing marketplace and secure the best coverage at the most affordable price. They don't work for insurance companies but for their clients, often serving as consumer advocates when billing and claims issues arise.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners -- which represents state insurance regulators -- has called agents "essential" to a functioning, consumer-friendly marketplace.

Take the case of John Walley, an Alabama-based agent. Upon meeting with an 80-year-old client, Walley discovered that she was living alone in a disheveled trailer and spending nearly a quarter of her $400 monthly income on Medicare premiums. Walley applied for Medicaid for his client, which waived her $96.40 monthly deductible. He also enrolled her in a Special Needs Plan that exempted her from paying the deductibles and co-pays that kept her from seeing a doctor for 15 years.

Or consider New Jersey agent Thomas Kohler, who intervened on behalf of his client in a hospital billing dispute -- and succeeded in lowering the client's medical bill from $7,000 to $3,000.

Defenders of the medical loss ratio claim that brokers won't be needed once the health insurance exchanges mandated by the ACA are up and running in 2014. Consumers will then be able to pick from a menu of health plans on a government website, they say.

But shopping for health insurance is more complicated than buying a pair of shoes online. Consumers are often confused by pages of legalese describing benefits, deductibles, and provider networks. Some may be inclined to make choices based solely on price, which might not be the wisest course.

More importantly, unlike a pair of shoes, a consumer will only find out if the policy "doesn't fit" when he's sick or injured -- when it's too late.

In its own programs, the federal government has experienced how difficult it can be to expand access to insurance without agents.

Consider the health law's temporary Preexisting Condition Insurance Program, which was supposed to provide coverage to "high-risk" consumers.

The law initially gave agents no role to play in attracting people to the program. Not surprisingly, very few signed up. Just 18,000 had done so by March 2011 -- less than 5 percent of the 375,000 that federal officials expected by the end of 2010.

So the feds enlisted the help of agents. Immediately, enrollment climbed -- by 400 percent over the past year and 24 percent over the last few months.

Lawmakers have historically recognized the importance of agents and brokers. And they must continue to do so. Otherwise, brokers will vanish from the marketplace. That would be bad news not just for the patients who depend on them as advocates -- but for the broader job market, too.

Janet Trautwein is CEO of the National Association of Health Underwriters.
 
‹ Previous Blog Entry
 

Your Opinions and Comments

 
Elaine K.  
Floresville  
July 26, 2012 2:02pm
 
New post.

Share your comment or opinion on this story!


You must be logged in to post a comment.




Not a subscriber?
Subscriber, but no password?
Forgot password?

Commentaries Archives


Commentaries
Commentaries page govtrack.us
Commentaries who represents me?
Allstate & McBride RealtyTriple R DC ExpertsHeavenly Touch homeSacred Heart SchoolVoncille Bielefeld homeChester Wilson

  Copyright © 2007-2015 Wilson County News. All rights reserved. Web development by Drewa Designs.